Competition authorities land on Widerøe

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Offices for Norway’s small domestic airline Widerøe in Bærum and Bodø got surprise visits on Tuesday from European competition authorities. They arrived to carry out an unannounced control of Widerøe’s adherence to competition rules tied to Norway’s economic agreement with the European Union.

Widerøe is a profitable domestic airline in Norway that SAS now needs to sell. Employees are eager to buy it. PHOTO: Widerøe

Domestic airline Widerøe is the target of an inspection by European competition authorities. PHOTO: Widerøe

State broadcaster NRK reported that inspectors showed up at Widerøe’s offices Tuesday morning, to check for any violations of the competition rules or misuse of Widerøe’s dominant position on some routes within the market.

It was unclear how long the inspection would last, since no deadlines were set by ESA, the EFTA (European Free Trade) Surveillance Agency. Norwegian officials from the competition authority Konkurransetilsynet arrived along with the ESA officials “to contribute on practical matters,” according to its special adviser, Svenn Gaulen.

Widerøe officials promised full openness and cooperation with the inspection, but declined to discuss what may be behind the surprise visits from European and Norwegian authorities.

Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) sold an 80 percent stake in Widerøe last year to an investor group from the Fjord1 ferry company, Torghatten and Nordland County. The airline serves many small airports around Norway, offering some routes to Northern European destinations as well.

newsinenglish.no staff